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Jun 17, 2013 - 03:38 PM
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2013 Michigan: Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recap
Posted by: newsla on Jun 17, 2013 - 03:30 PM
2013 Michigan: Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Race Recap

Race Highlights:
• Richard Childress Racing teammates finished second (Kevin Harvick), 10th (Jeff Burton), 11th(Austin Dillon) and 14th (Paul Menard).
• Following the event at Michigan International Speedway, Harvick is now fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings, trailing leader Jimmie Johnson by 62 markers, while Menard ranks 11th, 123 points back, and Burton sits 17th, 27 points out of the top 10.


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• The No. 29 team ranks fourth in the Sprint Cup Series owner championship point standings, with the No. 27 team 11th and the No. 31 team 18th.
• According to NASCAR's Post-Race Loop Data Statistics, Harvick earned the fifth-best Driver Rating (104.30) and ranked eighth for Laps In The Top 15 (163).
• Harvick's Average Running Position (9.77) ranked him seventh overall in the 43-car field.
• Menard completed 59 Green Flag Passes and ranked third in the Closers category, gaining five positions in the final 20 laps of the 200-lap event.
• Burton posted his fourth consecutive top-15 finish of the season.
• Burton made 57 Green Flag Passes, 25 of which came while running in the top 15 (Quality Passes).
• Dillon ranked third in the Closers category, advancing five positions in the final 10 percent of the race and was the sixth-Fastest Driver Late in a Run (187.392 mph).
• Greg Biffle earned his first victory of the 2013 Sprint Cup Series season and was followed to the finish line by Harvick, Martin Truex, Jr., Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart.
• The next Sprint Cup Series race is at Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 23. The 16th race on the 2013 schedule is slated to be televised live on TNT beginning at 2 p.m. Eastern Time and broadcast live on the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Satellite Radio.

Menard Earns 14th-Place Finish at Michigan International Speedway

After his best qualifying effort of the season, Paul Menard started the No. 27 CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet from the fourth position and captured a hard-fought 14th - place finish at Michigan International Speedway on Sunday. The early laps of the race looked promising as Menard quickly made his way to the second position on the first lap. The Eau Claire, Wis., native remained inside the top 10 until a lap-42 pit stop for right-side tires, fuel and a track bar and packer adjustment. Multiple cars elected not to take tires, or not pit at all, and Menard was forced to restart in the 22nd position. Starting mid-pack, Menard fought a loose-handling condition in traffic and the crew made a variety of chassis adjustments during the ensuing pit stops to help remedy the issue. The driver of the No. 27 Chevrolet steadily worked his way back toward the front and was running in 12th on lap 165 when crew chief "Slugger" Labbe called him onto pit road for a routine green-flag pit stop. Three laps after pitting, the caution flag flew for the final time causing Menard to fall a lap down to the leader, who had not yet come to pit road. Taking the "wave around" under caution, the 32-year-old driver was able to return to the lead lap restarting in 26th. On a mission to get back inside the top 15, Menard gained 12 spots in the remaining 27 laps to finish 14th. Menard now sits in the 11th spot in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings heading to Sonoma Raceway next weekend.

Start - 4th Finish - 14th Laps Led - 0 Points - 11th

"We had a fast CertainTeed/Menards Chevrolet at the start of the race and began to battle handling issues as the laps wore on. We got caught behind later when the caution came out after we had just pitted under green-flag conditions and had to restart at the tail end of the lead pack. I have to give my guys credit, they never gave up and we were able to fight back and come home with a top-15 finish."

Kevin Harvick Hangs Tough to Finish Second at Michigan International Speedway

When the 200-lap, 400-mile race at Michigan International Speedway began on Sunday afternoon, Kevin Harvick and the No. 29 Budweiser Chevrolet team lined up 21st for the initial green flag. The first pit stop on lap 22, for a pre-determined competition caution, allowed the team to make multiple adjustments to help the car's loose-handling condition. Throughout the race, crew chief Gil Martin called for pit stops taking on two and four tires at various times. This allowed the team to manage their tires during the race and avoid flats like other teams endured. For the last caution restart with 27 laps remaining, Harvick came off pit road in third with four tires, chassis adjustments and was topped off with enough fuel to go the remaining distance. During the final green-flag run, Harvick radioed in that he was feeling another vibration and didn't want to push the car and lose valuable track position. He jumped to second place, then lost the position and regained it to earn the runner-up finish. This was his fifth consecutive top-10 finish and moved the team up to fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

Start - 21st Finish - 2nd Laps Led - 0 Points - 4th

"We had a few vibrations during the race and you just have to ride them out and stay in the race. Gil (Martin, crew chief) and the Budweiser Chevrolet team did a great job on pit road managing stops during the race. They just kept making good adjustments, with the biggest ones coming on the first pit stop. It was a good day for us, we fought through the vibrations to stay out there and came up with a good finish."

Jeff Burton Collects Third Top-10 Finish of 2013 Season at Michigan International Speedway

Jeff Burton and the No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team collected their third top-10 finish of the 2013 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season, finishing 10th in the 400-mile event at Michigan International Speedway. After starting the 200-lap affair from the 18th position, the South Boston, Va., native maintained a top-20 running position while battling with a loose-handling condition on his black and yellow machine. Burton was able to find speed in the latter stages of long green-flag runs, but the loose-handling condition plagued the Richard Childress Racing driver from passing other competitors on the track. Crew chief Luke Lambert directed the Caterpillar pit crew to make chassis and air pressure adjustments under multiple two and four-tire pit stops through the course of the event. As the race progressed, Burton began to showcase speed by posting top-five lap times. With just under 50 laps remaining, the 21-time NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race winner worked his way into the top 15 and caught a break on lap 168 when the caution flag was displayed after many competitors had already made green-flag pit stops. Burton capitalized on the next restart and benefited from other competitors running out of fuel in the waning laps before crossing the finish line 10th for his fourth-consecutive top-15 result of the season. With the solid finish, Burton gained four positions and now sits 17th in the Sprint Cup Series driver championship point standings.

Start - 18th Finish - 10th Laps Led - 0 Points - 17th

"The No. 31 Caterpillar Chevrolet team fought hard all day to bring home another solid finish. It turned out that tires made a huge difference and Luke (Lambert, crew chief) made all the right calls with adjustments as the track conditions changed. We continue to make progress with our 1.5-mile and two-mile track programs. Overall, it was a good points day for us."

Austin Dillon Earns Career-Best NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Finish at Michigan International Speedway

Austin Dillon drove the No. 33 American Ethanol Chevrolet SS to an 11th-place finish in Sunday's NASCAR Sprint Cup Series event at Michigan International Speedway, posting his career-best finish in his seventh series start. The Richard Childress Racing driver started the 200-lap race from the seventh position, his best starting position in NASCAR's top tier division. The Welcome, N.C. driver spent the beginning of the race battling a loose-handling condition on his black and green Chevrolet. Working with crew chief Dr. Eric Warren, Dillon & Co. followed a pit strategy off-cycle from the race leader during the beginning and middle stages of the race. The team opted not to pit when the race leader and several front runners visited pit road under caution on lap 42, positioning Dillon in the second spot for a lap-45 restart. The rookie Sprint Cup Series driver was fast at the front of the field, maintaining pace within the top five for the next 30 circuits until he was pinned one lap down when the caution flag was displayed while pitting under green-flag conditions on lap 72. Dillon opted to take the "wave around" to gain his lap back and restarted 26th on lap 80. Although his car handled loose during the next run, Dillon continued to post fast lap times and move forward in the running order. He was scored in the 13th position when the caution flag was displayed on lap 168, prompting Dr. Warren to direct him down pit road for the final pit stop of the day. When entering his pit box, Dillon overshot his pit stall and had to be pushed back into his box, costing valuable seconds on pit road before the RCR team changed four tires and added Sunoco Green E15 fuel. Dillon was relegated to the 22nd position for the lap-173 restart, but assured his crew he planned to drive as aggressively as possible during the remaining laps of the event. Not to disappoint, Dillon gained 11 spots to finish a career-best 11th in the No. 33 American Ethanol Chevrolet.

Start - 7th Finish - 11th Laps Led - 0 Points - N/A

AUSTIN DILLON QUOTE: "I'm very proud of the No. 33 American Ethanol team. The guys on the team did a great job all day. I'm looking forward to our next race together."

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